Friday, September 08, 2006

On The Road Heading East

That's me and my camera, on the road in North Dakota, trying to shoot pictures of those beautiful rolled hay bales that are everywhere in that landscape. For a week we've been travelling across the country to St. Louis (our current location). The trip has been fantastic, with so many highlights. We came across the lower Cascade range in Washington into the fully-ripe fruit producing area around Wenatchie, where we stocked up on the most crunchy-delicious apples I can ever remember eating. That first day we made it all the way to Missoula, Montana - wow!

The next morning we took a delightful detour to the little town of Basin, where we met a fabulous group of women artists and musicians, thanks to our new friend Bryher who owns a little cafe there, and is the sister of my dear friend Mary. This little community has put together a Women Artist's Refuge, a retreat center where artists can go and stay for months at a time and work. In a nutshell, what we can say about Basin is .... We'll Be Back (and soon)!

Montana, of course, was heartbreakingly gorgeous. We drank in the luscious scenery, and wildlife (elk, sandhill cranes). That second afternoon we had a little adventure. We stopped in Billings for gas, and when Daniella turned the key in the car there was a huge BOOM from our vehicle and the engine was dead. We were stunned, and frightened, but eventually discovered that our battery had simply exploded. The plastic on top was all cracked open, and we could see battery acid roiling and steaming inside - scary! We called AAA and were towed to a local Sears store (mind you, this was Sunday of Labor Day weekend). They changed the battery, tested the car, and determined that there were no further problems, so off we went again. Wow! We stayed that second night in Miles City, MT - on the far eastern side of the state.

One sad thing that we noticed all the way across Washington, Idaho, and Montana is that the evergreen trees are dying. Everywhere, there are dead trees and dying trees amongst the green ones. We've heard that global warming is creating new conditions in the forests that weaken the trees, allow beetles to attack them, etc. There is also the excessive heat that these states have been experiencing, along with a shortage of rain. It was shocking to see it, however, and very worrisome to imagine where it might lead. At the very least, it increases the fire danger considerably. At worst, it threatens all of us.

6 comments:

Karina said...

I love the rear-view mirror photo.

So sad to see the pines dying from the beetles; that has happened here in New Mexico as well. The pinons were hit hard a couple of years ago; some areas were really devastated.

donna said...

Yup, the tree beetles wiped out many areas of California forests during our high temps and droughts, too. It's sad that they have spread so far north, but without the cold temps to freeze them out, there is little to stop the devastation. Lack of rain really makes the pines vulnerable.

Sorry about the car - hope the rest of the trip goes better....

robin andrea said...

I'm so glad you are posting. I've been wondering how you are doing. Sad to read about those evergreen dying. It's still warm here, but I hear things might be changing soon. Glad everything worked out with the car battery, and all is well. We miss you. Wishing you happy and safe journeys.

addtadd said...

sounds like an awesome trip, makes me wanna return home and head out west :) soon enough, I suppose.

The Fat Lady Sings said...

Your trip sounds wonderful. You always have the neatest adventures! How exciting to be doing this so soon after Whidbey Island. And I know what you mean about the evergreens. I noticed the exact same thing 12 years ago in Colorado, and 8 years before that in central Florida. So many dead trees. In Florida, at the time, no one knew what was causing the problem. Everyone I talked to said 'acid rain' – but they just weren’t sure. In Colorado it was the beetles, though. I remember the forests looked diseased.

Cyndy Goldman said...

you girls are having a trip fantastic! that boom from your car battery must have been such a jolt and i'm glad it wasn't anything more serious. my 3-day trip to Mt. Shasta pales to your weeks and weeks of meeting new people, seeing new places and all your free days! espeically soon after your month of whidbey moments! my mind and body melts into relaxation when i see your photos and read your posts! i'm sad too about the trees. thanks for posting from the road. safe journeys ahead.